Try Before You Ask

Sep 07, 2021

I think one of the biggest shortcomings that we, as a society have, is the tendency to ask questions before we try something ourselves.

So many people want answers, without doing the work to get it.

While the internet has been an amazing tool for the collective good of society – one downside has been that we have come to expect immediate answers for everything.

Too often, we don’t actually want the recipe. We just want the chef to make food for us.

What we fail to realize is, even with the recipe, the meal we cook will never taste as good as the chef’s, because the chef is the one who spent countless hours experimenting, learning, and adjusting in order to cook that meal.

When we seek out the answers to things before we invest any effort on our end, we rob ourselves the absolutely critical process of learning. Not just learning what works, but learning what doesn’t work.

As Thomas Edison famously said of his multiple failed attempts at inventing the lightbulb – “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

It’s honestly a shame really, that we have become so averse to failing, and working towards something – because that is ultimately where the joy lies.

When we are given the answer to something right away – it robs us the feeling of joy we get when we figure it out for ourselves.

I know that for me personally, as I look back over my life, the things that I feel most proud of, and the stories that I am most excited to tell other people, are the stories where I struggled to do something – but eventually overcame it, and succeeded.

As human beings, we are wired to love a story of overcoming odds.

We love watching people overcome struggles. People winning battles. People slaying giants. Because it gives us hope that we too can overcome our own struggles.

But, because we live in this culture of immediate gratification, and instantaneous answers – we are losing the important process of struggling, which builds confidence, and increases the sense of joy and pride when we finally succeed.

One of my favorite parables is the story of the struggling butterfly. A man see’s a cocoon, with a butterfly struggling to break out of it. So – he decides to help the butterfly out, by peeling away the cracking cocoon. In doing so, the butterfly fails to build up the strength necessary to fly, and so it dies in the cocoon.

The heart of the phrase “try before you ask” is really about embracing the struggle. Recognizing that the struggle is not only good for you, but critical!

And this is biblical.

Scripture teaches us that we are not to fear struggle or admonition, but we are to embrace it. Because when we face adversity and hardship, that is how God helps us to become more like Him. God is glorified when we are weak.

It took me a long time to understand this. But, the older I get, the more I realize that struggle and hardships are not something to fear, but something to be embraced. Because I know that when we willingly and readily engage in difficult things, it will ALWAYS lead to incredible, delightful, glorious feelings of success, when we finally overcome.

Losing weight is difficult. Having to exercise daily, eat healthy foods, and make wise decisions day in and day out. It’s hard! However… when you finally lose 20, 50, or even 100 pounds – the feeling of confidence, and the taste of success makes it absolutely worth the struggle.

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